The Herschel S. Horowitz Center for Health Literacy is named to honor the legacy and accomplishments of Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz, scientist, educator, and public health advocate. Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz believed that researchers must be active members of their communities. He felt they have a responsibility to communicate risks to health, promote methods of maintaining health, generate healthy policies for the community, educate communities and serve as expert witnesses where necessary.
An internationally recognized scientist and dental researcher, Dr. Herschel S. Horowitz was born in Detroit, Michigan and earned his DDS and MPH from the University of Michigan. He was a pioneer in clinical trials, fluoride research and prevention of oral diseases and conditions. While his primary research focus was on dental caries (tooth decay) prevention though the application of different kinds of fluoride and dental sealants he also paved the way for studies of cost-benefit and cost effectiveness and addressed key issues related to scientific research ethics. He wrote with passion and candor and had a high moral commitment to his field and the communities he served. He was a major advocate for community water fluoridation and dedicated substantial time in the United States and abroad elucidating its health benefits to a variety of audiences.
Immediately after graduating from dental school Dr. Horowitz served in the US Army in Japan as a clinical dentist. Upon his return he provided dental care for the City of Detroit public programs before beginning his MPH program. Upon completion of his MPH he joined the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps where he began his career in dental research ultimately achieving the rank of Captain. He spent most of his career at the National Institute of Dental Research (now National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Health), National Institutes of Health where he led a team of clinical and behavioral science researchers. Dr. Horowitz authored and co-authored more than 200 scientific publications and book chapters; was a Diplomat of the American Board of Dental Public Health and later served as its President; and earned numerous U.S. Public Health Service and professional association awards.
Our Founding Dean and Donor Explain the Center's History
Dr. Bob Gold, the School of Public Health's founding Dean, and Dr. Alice Horowitz, whose gift made the Center possible, talk about the necessity of a Center for Health Literacy.
Center's 10th Anniversary
On September 18, 2017, the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy celebrated its 10th anniversary, an important milestone in the Center’s history. Dr. Christine Prue, the Associate Director for Behavioral Science at CDC’s National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, presented on her life as a health communicator and behavioral scientist on the frontlines of public health communication. She also spoke about how she has helped advance health literacy in public health practice.
Dr. Rima Rudd, a leader in health literacy from the Harvard School of Public Health, also spoke about the role of health literacy in public health practice and the significance of the doctoral fellowship in her name.